Cash-strapped Brazilian telecoms operator Oi has confirmed that it has hired Lazard as its financial adviser as it continues to explore the divestment of its non-core assets, with a view to bankrolling its ongoing fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) expansion plans. As such, Lazard joins Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which continues to support Oi in the process. According to Oi, the two firms will ‘act in a coordinated manner to evaluate strategic alternatives involving fibre and other Oi assets, with the objective of maximising value creation and expanding the sources of financing for the execution of the company’s investment plan and fibre expansion.’ Industry insiders have long suggested that the telco will seek to sell off its mobile business and concentrate on its more lucrative fibre activities.
In other Oi-related news, the telco has confirmed that the Directing Council of the National Telecommunications Agency (Conselho Diretor da Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) has suspended the ‘special monitoring’ of the telco that has been carried out since May 2019, because it considers that the short-term liquidity risk of the company and its subsidiaries has been remedied. Oi – which filed the largest bankruptcy request in Brazil’s history in June 2016 – is once again subject to the traditional monitoring regime imposed by Anatel on other telecoms concessionaires.